01 Aug 2016 - 01 Nov 2016
Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, Eastern Partnership, energy security, Infrastructure, energy and climate change, Research

Energy efficiency: The role of the local and regional authorities in the Eastern Partnership countries

Energy efficiency: The role of the local and regional authorities in the Eastern Partnership countries
Stability and cooperation within and outside the European Union is one of the five political priorities for the current mandate 2015-2020 of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and within this context, the CoR set out to ensure that efforts to cooperate with our neighbours are founded on cooperation between local and regional authorities. The CoR established the Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities for the EaP (CORLEAP) in 2011, in order to facilitate political cooperation and dialogue between regional and local authorities of the EU and the EaP countries. 
As acknowledged in the Joint Communication on the ENP review, presented in November 2015, there is strong support to give energy cooperation a greater place in the ENP, both as a security measure and as a means to sustainable economic development. Energy can thus be identified as being a policy field with potential for profiling the role and showcasing the concrete contribution of local and regional authorities (LRAs), given their engagement and commendable efforts in support of sustainable, affordable and securely supplied energy, the recognition of the role of LRAs in responding to climate challenges at COP21, and the momentum gained by the Covenant of Mayors. A focused approach will assist in founding a strong message which voices regional and local concerns, as well as increasing the receptivity of this message at national and EU level. Energy is therefore suggested as one of the priority topics to shape the CoR political message for the 5th Eastern Partnership Summit in 2017. 
In addition, an upcoming CORLEAP event in Yerevan on 26 October 2016 is aimed at raising awareness on the role sub-national authorities and local stakeholders can play in support of sustainable development. Making economies less energy intensive will also make them more competitive, leading to local job creation and sustainable development. Findings of this note may also be presented with that occasion
Scope and objectives:
For most of the EaP countries, energy reduction is high on the political agenda as they are often highly dependent on expensive imported gas, which places a heavy burden on their economies. At the same time, decentralisation efforts in recent years have led to increased responsibilities at local level, though not always accompanied by the necessary financial support. Investing in local authorities will make economies more competitive, leading to local job creation and economic growth.   
As a result, the aim of the project is to provide both analysis and recommendations, notably on measures (to be) taken by local and regional authorities, but also on how they have to be empowered and the means they would need to implement those measures. Moreover, a mapping of local energy policies or local policies for sustainable development, whose implementation leads to improving energy efficiency will be provided. 
In addition, the final note will provide: 
- a brief assessment of emerging trends with regard to energy efficiency in the six partner countries;
- an analysis of possible risks resulting from the geopolitical situation in the region; also including an analysis of the scope of support from the EU countries that could substantially reduce these risks;
- an overview of how local and regional authorities benefitted from the EaP flagship initiatives on sustainable municipal development and energy, in particular the Covenant of Mayors East;
- an analysis of the relation (from the point of governance – national vs. local competences) between national energy efficiency action plans and local/regional action plans where they exist;
- an insight into the ability of LRA to use their own expertise and/or to use external consultants (point of view of affordability, availability, competence); 
- an analysis on access to finance for LRAs, notably the use of the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P).
Client: Committee of the Regions
Consortium leader: London School of Economics and Political Science
Expert: Karolina Zubel